Tour - Sky's the limit for Wiggins after strong start

LIEGE, Belgium Sun Jul 1, 2012 10:30am IST

Sky Procycling rider Bradley Wiggins of Britain cycles during the individual time trial in the first stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race in Liege, June 30, 2012. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

Sky Procycling rider Bradley Wiggins of Britain cycles during the individual time trial in the first stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race in Liege, June 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bogdan Cristel

LIEGE, Belgium (Reuters) - Bradley Wiggins, sweat dripping from his famous sideburns, went all out to prove he is the man to beat at this year's Tour de France and was rewarded with a 10-second advantage over his nearest rival after Saturday's prologue.

Wiggins has been almost unbeatable in time trials this year and although Switzerland's resurgent Fabian Cancellara robbed the Briton of glory through the hot streets of Liege, Team Sky know second spot is a major marker for the three-week race.

Defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia already trails fellow all-rounder Wiggins by 10 seconds after managing the 6.4 km looped course in seven minutes 30.36.

"I'm really happy, the legs felt good and I stayed calm and relaxed," Wiggins told reporters.

"It's a good start and the main thing was to stay upright, safe and trouble-free.

"Fair play to Fabian, he's the best in the world at what he does and I think he proved that again today."

Cancellara led the rest of the pack in the time trial by an astonishing seven seconds but Wiggins' Team Sky colleagues still had a good day with Edvald Boasson Hagen fifth and Chris Froome 11th.

"Obviously the first priority is to look after Bradley and maybe in doing so there are others to go for the general classification," Froome said, adding that he would be "fired" if he said having ace sprinter Mark Cavendish in the team was a distraction from helping Wiggins.

Last year's green jersey winner Cavendish, who is also world champion, found the going tough as expected and finished 41st in the time trial but he is expecting to feel as bad in a hilly first stage to Seraing on Sunday.

"The time I decided to ride I couldn't do," he said, panting for breath by the line. "Tomorrow is too hard, Monday is where it starts for us."

Time-trial world champion Tony Martin of Germany had an even worse day, suffering a puncture when going well and ending up 23 seconds behind rival Cancellara.

"I had to change the bike, I think it was a quick change but it dents morale, it dents rhythm and I'm very disappointed," the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider said. (Editing by Alison Wildey)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Soccer

SPORTS SHOWCASE

Classy Century

Classy Century

Silky Jayawardene puts Sri Lanka on top.  Full Article 

Changes in Team

Changes in Team

Coach and captaincy changes in Zimbabwe shake-up.  Full Article 

Disgraced Suarez

Disgraced Suarez

Banned Suarez could make Barca debut in El Clasico  Full Article 

Pre-Season Tour

Pre-Season Tour

Wenger bemoans Arsenal's pre-season tour schedule  Full Article 

Formula One

Formula One

'So happy' Perez sure 2015 Mexican GP will happen.  Full Article 

Hamilton Hopeful

Hamilton Hopeful

Hamilton hopes to agree new deal this year  Full Article 

Shock Gold

Shock Gold

Scotland's Murdoch wins shock gold in the pool  Full Article 

Settling for Silver

Settling for Silver

Silver for Wiggins as Meares takes historic gold  Full Article 

Pinto Quits

Pinto Quits

Pinto quits Costa Rica after "sleeping with enemy"  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage